BlackBerry Posts $423 Million Loss in Fourth Quarter, CEO Eyes Brighter Times Ahead

Paul Lilly

Big losses have become all-too-familiar for BlackBerry

The numbers are in for BlackBerry's fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, and once again, they're not pretty. To get some of the bigger ones out of the way, BlackBerry posted a $423M loss, or $0.08 per share diluted, for Q4, which contributed to a $5.9 billion loss for entire year. Despite the heavy losses, BlackBerry's recently inaugurated CEO John Chen said he was "very pleased" with how things are going . Confused?

Though BlackBerry has suffered some heavy losses, they're not as big as they could otherwise have been without the cost cutting measures Chen recently put in place. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, operating expenses are down 51 percent.

"I am very pleased with our progress and execution in fiscal Q4 against the strategy we laid out three months ago. We have significantly streamlined operations, allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule," Chen said (PDF) . "BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability."

This is the first quarter of an eight-quarter turnaround plan, and assuming it works out, more losses are in store. Chen doesn't expect cash flow to reach a break even point until the end of fiscal 2015, with a return to profitability expected in 2016.

For that to happen, Chen's gamble on returning to BlackBerry's roots will need to pay off. After witnessing the failed attempt at winning back customers with BlackBerry 10 devices, the Canadian handset maker brought back the classic QWERTY keyboard by launching the Q20 last month. As another throwback to the past, the company is planning to bring back the BlackBerry Bold.

On top of that, Chen is shifting some focus onto software and services, especially its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) program, which now stands at 113 million registered users and 85 million monthly active users. Furthermore, Chen is considering a desktop version of the app, so that users could begin a conversation on their PC and pick up where they left off on their mobile device.

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